Ford's Quality Problems Deepen

J.D. Power, America’s premier car research firm, has issued its 2023 U.S. Customer Service Index (CSI) Study. For the first time in three decades, the overall rank for the industry dropped. Ford continues to struggle in this category. (These are the best-built and worst-built cars in America.)

The total number of points a vehicle can get is 1,000. This year, the industry average was 846, down two points from last year. The rankings are based on “vehicle owner service experience.” This includes service quality, which is 32% of the total; service advisors, which is 19%; vehicle pick-up, also 19%; service facilities, 15% of the total; and service initiation, at 15%.

Electric vehicles (EVs) were rated more poorly than gasoline-powered cars. The primary reason is the rate of recalls. Chris Sutton, vice president of automotive retail at J.D. Power, commented, “As the electric vehicle segment grows, service is going to be a ‘make or break’ part of the ownership experience.”

The CSI study separates cars into two categories: luxury cars and mass market cars. Lincoln, Ford’s embattled luxury car, ranked third from the bottom of the luxury category. With a score of 835, it was behind perennial quality loser Jaguar, which scored 839.

In the mass market category, the Ford brand fell well below average with a score of 832, very slightly above Dodge, which had a score of 830. The average among mass car brands was 835. Ford’s nemesis Chevy scored 853.

The Wall Street Journal’s “At Ford, Quality Is Now Problem 1” story from last year quoted Ford CEO Jim Farley: “We continue to be hampered by recalls and customer satisfaction actions.” He has not fixed that.

People use the J.D. Power surveys to buy cars. Ford continues to be at a substantial disadvantage.

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